Senior year may not be new, but it will be fun
For 12 years, I have woken up some morning in August or September before the sun rises, unable to sleep. I have checked the time and rolled out of bed, donned the neatly folded clothes waiting on a chair, and looked in the mirror. It is important to look good on the first day of school, as everybody knows. Even as a first-grader, I picked out my favorite bright blue overalls.
This year, however, something was different. When my alarm went off, signaling the official end of summer, I checked the time, rolled out of bed … and rolled right back in, unable to accept that it was only 6:30 in the morning. I then hit the snooze button and slept for another 20 minutes, leaving me barely enough time to throw on the first T-shirt and pair of jeans out of the drawer. Instead of proudly loading my binders and school supplies into my backpack, I grabbed a pencil and a notebook and headed out the door.
You see, this year I am a senior. I’ve been there, I’ve done that, and I’ve done it again. I have finally realized that the first day of school is like every other, with the exception being that there is no such thing as late homework. There is no point in getting all dressed up; anyone who knows me knows that I will soon settle down to my usual uniform of sweats and sneakers. Let the others think what they may.
This year happened to be the first that I was actually late to first period. I would love to blame it on the terrible traffic and parking problem at Nevada Union, but unfortunately, it was due purely to the fact that I didn’t leave my house until the time the first bell rang. Wondering if that was an omen, I walked into the chaos that is the first day of school. Everyone was busy comparing schedules – this, sadly, the highlight of the year – and gossiping about their summers. The rest of the day proceeded as usual; students griped about being given homework on the first day, wailed when they found out they had the same math teacher for the third year in a row, and rejoiced when they realized they also had open seventh period.
By the end of the week, everyone had settled into their schedules fairly well. The necessary changes had been made – putting the editor of the yearbook in that class, for example – and we had all remembered why summer is such a blessing. Most of us even took our first quiz. During lunch, we sat in the shade and had daydreams about the river. I considered ditching. Really, I did. I know that is the sort of thing that is supposed to be reserved for second semester, but I had already figured out the optimal time at which to do so. Last year, my friend and I made a video about ditching school for a how-to speech. We were assigned to present our speech on the last day. The video made it to class, though we did not.
Truly, though, I am glad to be back. I think many others would agree that when you are in high school, your life revolves around your campus. Students often spend more time at school than they do at their own homes. Despite all the complaining we do, school provides structure; almost all of our friends are those we have met at school, and most extracurricular activities are school-related. Athletics, choir, drama, chess, even travel: without organized departments, it would be far more difficult to become involved. It is nearly impossible to be in one place seven hours a day, five days a week, and not come away with some connection to it.
As a senior, I plan on taking full advantage of all that high school has to offer. Well, to say “all” would be inaccurate. You won’t see me trying out for the fall play or the cheerleading squad. I do plan on spending a lot of time with my friends and studying hard. Hopefully, senior year will be as fantastic as the first three!
Erin Johnson, 17, lives in Grass Valley and is a senior at Nevada Union High School. Write her in care of Youth Page, The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945, or at
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